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Named after CPR engineer Henry Cambie, South Cambie was once home to elk, oxen, loggers, ranchers, and Chinese vegetable gardeners. Today, as yesterday, the area is dominated by Little Mountain, the highest point in Vancouver, and one of the only places from which to command a 360-degree view of the city.
The first non-native settler to the area was William Mackie, a logger and gold miner. In 1874, Mackie claimed 65 hectares around what is now Douglas Park. The next year Jeremiah Rogers built a road to Little Mountain to access the lumber that covered it. After the lumber was removed, the former oxen pasture became site of a small milk ranch. In 1910, as houses began springing up in less fertile ground all around, the land was used for Chinese vegetable farming. Finally, in 1926, the land was designated as Douglas Park.
Like Shaughnessy, the area north of King Edward developed in the boom years following the turn of the 19th century. By 1926, houses dotted the area surrounding Douglas Park, and by the mid-1950s, the last remaining raw land just north of 41st Avenue (used as army barracks during the war) was released by the federal government for development.
Edith Cavell School and a heritage development on Ash Street
The Fairmont Academy on Heather Street is an important community landmark listed on the City's Heritage Register. Now used as an RCMP training facility, the 1912 tudor-style building designed by Samuel Maclure, originally served as the Langara private school for boys.
The oldest part of the community, the northern portion bounded by 17th, 23rd, Cambie and Oak, has a number of Craftsman-style heritage homes from the 1910s and 1920s. There are also several excellent examples of Moderne buildings in South Cambie including the Jean Matheson Pavilion and the former Shaughnessy Hospital's main building.
Detailed information on the city's heritage and a complete list of heritage buildings is available at City of Vancouver Heritage.
Additional information is available through the City of Vancouver Archives.
In the late 1980s, the Secondary Suite Program resulted in RS-1S zoning in parts of South Cambie. Otherwise, the area has had no community planning.
In 1995, Vancouver City Council approved CityPlan: Directions for Vancouver. CityPlan is a citywide plan that will guide City decisions on programs, priorities and actions through 2021. CityPlan provides general directions for a range of topics and issues in which the City is involved including neighbourhood centres, housing variety and affordability, neighbourhood character, services, safety, arts and culture, public places, economy and jobs, transportation, environment, downtown development, financial accountability, and decision making.[CityPlan]
The Community Visions Program is a component of CityPlan that provides each community with an opportunity to look into its future, determine its needs and aspirations, and set a course that is consistent with CityPlan. Community visioning is being implemented in areas where there has been little or no previous community planning.
South Cambie, together with Riley Park, is slated to have a Community Vision program starting in 2003. [Community Visions
The zoning types found in South Cambie are listed below.